Animal welfare groups on Tuesday joined the calls for a moratorium on firecrackers in welcoming the New Year, saying the loud noises are harmful to animals, too.
Members of the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) teamed with EcoWaste Coalition in sending the message with a protest outside the Manila Zoo, where they dressed as dogs and monkeys.
The groups said firecrackers can cause severe ear injuries for animals that have a much sharper sense of hearing than humans.
“Pets and other animals suffer from stress because of firecrackers. They suffer a lot because their sense of hearing is at least 10 times more sensitive than that of humans," said Anna Cabrera, PAWS program director.
She also said that animals get poisoned when they eat pieces of firecracker wrapping.
During the protest activity, youth members of MASKARA-Green Stage-Filipinas acted out the discomfort, injury and pain that panic-stricken animals, both pet and stray, go through when noisemaking fireworks go off.
The groups pushed for safe and environment-friendly substitutes and recommended tips to pet owners to help their pets cope with the stress and harm that come with the noise of fireworks.
1. Appeal to family members and neighbors not to burst firecrackers and be considerate to animals who are unable to protect themselves from toxic harm.
2. Create a safe and comfortable place where your pet can hide from fumes and noises.
3. Observe where your pet goes when she is frightened and give her access to that place such as under the sofa or bed. Let your pet come and go freely to her “comfort zone."
4. Encourage your pet to engage in an activity that diverts her attention away from startling noises and from behaving fearfully.
5. Refrain from soothing or giving treats to your pet when she is behaving frightfully as she may interpret this as a reward for her anxious behavior.
6. Don’t punish your pet for being terrified of firecrackers as this will only make her more scared.
7. Don’t try to force your dog to experience or be close to her source of fear as this can make her aggressive in her desire to escape from the situation.
8. Keep your gate closed and your perimeter secure to prevent your pet from wandering off due to panic.
The groups also recommended additional tips to prevent pets’ exposure to toxins and other hazardous substances that can pose significant health and safety risks, including chemical poisoning, choking, suffocation and damage to vital organs.
1. Keep hazardous materials out of reach of your pet, including plastic bags and wrappings, tobacco products, cleaning solutions, and phosphorous-containing items such as pyrotechnic devices, incense, matches and mosquito coils.
2. Keep common holiday food treats such as chocolate, grapes, macadamia nuts, popcorn, fruit cake, raisin bread and alcoholic beverages, away from your pet as these may cause stomach, kidney and liver ailments as well as choking hazard.